Stone Age 7000 - 2000 B.C.

The Stone Age took place in Ireland between 7000 and 2000 B.C. It is divided into 3 distinct phases:
Palaeolithic (Early Stone Age)
Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)
Neolithic (New Stone Age).

The very first people in Ireland were hunter gatherers who made use of flint tools to survive. Very little is known about this race of people.

The Neolithic period is characterised by the shift from hunter gathering to farming, when forests were cleared using stone axes in order to sow seeds and plant crops. This knowledge of agriculture was brought from Eastern Europe to Ireland in 3700 B.C.


Neolithic/Megalithic Tombs

  • Dolmen

This is the simplest of the megalithic tombs and consists of 2-7 standings stones and 1 large capstone. There are approximately 190 dolmens in Ireland.

One example is at Poulnabrone, Co. Clare.


  • Court Cairn

A rectangular burial chamber with an oval forecourt used to accommodate a ritual. Large slabs of rock and cairn were used to make the walls and roof.

An example can be found at Creevykeel, Co. Sligo.


  • Passage Grave

The most impressive tombs built by Neolithic man. A narrow passage of large stones leading to one or multiple burial chambers covered in earth or stone. There are 3 passage graves in the Boyne Valley; Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange.


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